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Royal Lymington sailors shine at the RYA Youth National Championships

by Tanya Baddeley 20 Apr 07:41 PDT 9-15 April 2022
Santi Sesto Cosby and Leo Wilkinson 29er RYA Youth Champions in the 2022 RYA Youth Nationals in Pwllheli © Richard Aspland / RYA

From 9th to 15th April a team of talented young sailors from the Royal Lymington Yacht Club (RLymYC) excelled themselves in the 2022 RYA Youth National Championships at Pwllheli, North Wales.

The premier youth sailing regatta attracted 280 sailors from all over the country. As the qualifier event for the prestigious Allianz Youth Sailing World Championships to be held in the Netherlands in July, the top boys/mixed boat and top girls' boat in each class would be selected.

The RLymYC sailors shone in double-handers: in the 29er class winning 1st and 2nd overall and 1st mixed pair and in the 420 class winning 1st boys (2nd overall).

Throughout the week, the sailors contended with light and yet somehow shifty wind and unstable weather, with race conditions varying from sunny to foggy. A lot of different tactics were required, testament to the excellent coaching provided by RLymYC and the RYA.

In the 29er class a friendly battle for overall gold developed early on between RLymYC pair Ben Mueller/Sam Webb and fellow RLymYC member Santi Sesto Cosby with crew Leo Wilkinson (Maidenhead SC). On the final day Santi and Leo were crowned RYA Youth National Champions with Ben and Sam finishing close behind in Silver.

Lymington's Santi Sesto Cosby (aged 16) said: Our goal was to get a spot in the RYA summer squad. Winning the event was really amazing because we worked so hard these past few months and to see it all come together especially against such a tough fleet was really amazing. Our friends Ben and Sam are great sailors, they put up a really tough fight and made us work very, very hard to stay ahead."

"It was hard moving from an optimist into a double handed youth class in the middle of the pandemic as it it takes a lot of time to learn to sail with someone else. Leo and I only started sailing together in January and before that he'd only helmed. So, it has been a very steep learning curve: that it all clicked together at the right time was just amazing."

Annabelle Vines and her crew Raulf Berry (HISC) were 1st Mixed Pair (17th overall), with Ollie Vines and his crew Kuba Staite (HISC) finishing an honourable 15th overall. Ella Lightbody and Felicity Brellisford finished 4th Girls (20th overall) and Agnes Bracey Davis with crew Felix Cummings (HISC) finished 5th Mixed Pair (32nd overall).

In the 420 class, Henry Heathcote and Hector Bennett were 1st Boys and 2nd overall. Cameron Bignold Kyles stood in at the eleventh hour to helm for Gabriella Burlton (RSYC), the pair finishing 6th Mixed Pair (14th overall) - a good result for his first time in a 420! Meanwhile Emma Breese finished 9th Mixed Pair (26th overall) with crew Arthur Bailey (Oxford SC).

RLymYC's Jack Graham Troll finished 9th out of 61 boats in the ILCA6 Men, whilst Anya Morris finished 17th in the ILCA6 Women. Meanwhile RLymYC's Findlay Bignold Kyles joined LTSC's William Homewood in the Nacra 15, the pair finishing a solid 7th overall.

Royal Lymington's Head Coach, Hugh Styles, said: "The performance of our teenage sailors at the RYA Youth Nationals was fantastic, they have all trained incredibly hard and we are immensely proud of them all. It is great to see our young sailors flourish, from starting out with sailing adventures in optimists and Wednesday Junior Sailing to progressing into double-handers, the highly competitive youth classes and beyond."

Local children aged 8-18 have the opportunity to learn sailing and seamanship skills for just £1 per week at the Royal Lymington Yacht Club's OnBoard Centre, Wednesday Junior Sailing, which starts for the 2022 season on 27th April. Find out more and register at rlymyc.org.uk/wjs.

In addition, RLymYC is running RYA Youth Sailing Courses for beginners and improvers during the school holidays. For more information visit rlymyc.org.uk/training.

Find out more about junior and youth sailing with Royal Lymington Yacht Club at rlymyc.org.uk/youth-sailing.

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